Nigeria Loses N740bn Yearly In The Rubber Industry
The Executive Director, National Rubber Association of Nigeria (NRAN), Dr. Sunday Kolawole, has said Nigeria loses over N740 billion ($2billion) yearly in the rubber industry.
He blamed unfavourable global market prices, particularly between 1996 and 2002, for this development. This he said led to farmers abandoning their rubber plantations for other more lucrative ventures.
He recalled that the Federal Government had come up with programmes in the past such as the Agricultural Transformation Agenda whereby an intervention of 75, 000 hectares was supposed to be planted in the 18 rubber producing states. He said this intervention did not last, lamenting that the rubber industry has continued to suffer neglect.
In a telephone interview, Kolawole urged the Federal Government to take steps to revive the sector by funding it. He lamented that the association is not getting support from the government, adding that it takes about seven years to start tapping rubber. This he said has made the farmers to run away from the business because they don’t have the fund.
He recalled that NRAN had organised a stakeholder’s forum with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) with a view to reviving the sector.
Also speaking, the General Manager, Imoniyame Rubber Limited, Simon Akiyomi, advised the government to pay up the outstanding Export Expansion Grant (EEG) due to factory owners. This, he said would enable them pay off their backlog of debts. He said the government has lost a lot of foreign exchange earnings by not paying the EEG.
He urged the government to revive the rubber industry and restore its glory to open up job opportunities for the youths.